Fund lights the way to new energy economy
THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to encourage new investment in Queensland’s critical minerals sector through a $2 billion loan facility.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the loan facility would help secure the vital resources needed to drive the new energy economy and support ‘green’ resources jobs of the future.
"The announcement of a new, $2 billion loan facility for critical minerals projects will help convert exploration interest into long-term job opportunities and support Australia’s transition to a lower emissions future,” Mr Macfarlane said.
A recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report -- referred to in the QRC’s State of the Sector report for the March quarter -- showed that a concerted effort to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement would lead to a quadrupling of mineral demand for clean energy technologies by 2040.
“The IEA report demonstrates Queensland explorers and potential explorers are in a prime position to capitalise on growing global interest in our minerals sector,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Queensland mineral exploration expenditure has already grown by 32 percent over the past two financial years, according to the latest ABS exploration data, and we expect today’s announcement will help Queensland capitalise on the increased activity.”
Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) chair Kim Wainwright said Queensland had a range of critical mineral exploration projects underway that would support the world’s transition to lower emission energy.
“Queensland is highly prospective for many of the minerals used to manufacture everyday items such as smart phones, and renewable energy products like wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels and batteries,” Ms Wainwright said.
“For example, we have some critical minerals projects underway involving commodities such as vanadium, tungsten and rare earths as well as the more traditional minerals required like copper, gold and zinc, but the sector will need to expand further to realise its full potential.”
Ms Wainwright said the Queensland Government’s approval of Multicom Resources’ Saint Elmo vanadium mine near Julia Creek last week was a sign of more to come, with vanadium an in-demand component used to strengthen steel alloys and vanadium batteries, which complement lithium battery options.
“Queensland is in prime position to provide the rare earths and other critical minerals that are essential to the supply chains of the new economy minerals,” she said.